As Americans, our freedom is allegedly guaranteed, but news out of the Federal Bureau of Investigation seems to indicate another reality entirely.
Freedom isn’t a metered item. It doesn’t come in shades or sizes. It’s just freedom. Americans are lucky in this regard, as our Constitution expressly grants us liberty that the rest of the world at large simply does not have. Freedom of speech, religion, the press…the list goes on.
One of these inalienable rights that is overlooked from time to time, however is the 4th Amendment, which protects the American populace from unwarranted search and seizure. (This is why the police have to get search warrants to rifle through your underwear drawer or ask even think about opening your glovebox).
But what about methods of passive search and seizure? Are there safeguards against being unknowingly examined by authorities?
A controversial new program at the FBI could soon have us crashing into this quandary face first…pun intended.
The FBI still has not assessed whether its facial recognition systems meet privacy and accuracy standards nearly three years after a congressional watchdog—the Government Accountability Office—raised multiple concerns about the bureau’s use of the tech.
Since 2015, the FBI and other law enforcement agencies have used the Next Generation Identification-Interstate Photo System, which uses facial recognition software to link potential suspects to crimes, pulling from a database of more than 30 million mugshots and other photos.
Luckily, not everyone in Washington wants to give the FBI a free pass on the invasive software.
In May 2016, the Government Accountability Office recommended the FBI establish checks to ensure the software adhered to the Justice Department’s privacy and accuracy standards, but according to a report published Thursday, the bureau has yet to implement any of the six proposed policy changes.
The idea of government spying is nothing new, having been thrust into the national spotlight in recent years, first after the terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001, and again during the Obama administration’s NSA heyday.
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